Athlete Spotlight: James Wood’s Michael Carter
James Wood High School 17-year-old senior
Parents: Ladonna and Lowell Taylor
When did you start playing basketball: When I was 5 years old. My mom signed up, because I wanted to play. But I didn’t really get into it until seventh grade. The competition was a lot better then, and I was playing against all my friends in middle school.
What you love about basketball: Just how competitive it is, and how fast-paced it is. It’s different from other sports, because you’re constantly running, and I like that.
Biggest strength and weakness in basketball: My biggest strength is maybe on defense. I’m pretty good at defense. I’m good at not letting my man get by me and I’m good at anticipating. My biggest weakness is probably weak-hand dribbling. That’s something I need to work on the most.
Sport you always wanted to try: I’ve always wanted to try lacrosse. I feel lacrosse would be really hard, and everyone I know who’s played it says it’s so much fun.
Most memorable moment in basketball: When we were going into the [Northwestern] District tournament as the 5 seed my sophomore year. We beat Skyline, and then we beat Millbrook, the No. 1 seed. That gave us a spot in regionals.
Most embarrassing moment in basketball: My sophomore year Terry Wood (Sherando’s former 6-8 center) dunked on me. There was nothing I could really do. I’m 5-11. (Laughs.) Just the wrong place at the wrong time.
Favorite athlete: [Miami Heat guard and U.S. Olympic gold medalist] Dwyane Wade. I’ve liked him for a long time. He’s one of those players who’s unique. And he dunks really hard, and is a hard-working player.
Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive:[Former NBA guard] Michael Jordan, [Miami Heat forward] LeBron James; and [comedian] Kevin Hart. I’d love to have dinner with Hart. I feel like he’d crack me up.
Favorite subject in school: Science. I like Biology, because it deals with animals and nature. It’s interesting. And it’s not math because I can’t stand math.
What’s on the iPod: A lot of hip-hop, a little bit of country.
Pregame routine/ritual: I just listen to music. Ace Hood is the No. 1 person I listen to before basketball games, because he just gets me really hyped. And I just focus on the game.
Plans after high school: I want to go to either [West Virginia University] or [the University of North Carolina]. UNC is my No. 1 choice. I want to be a pharmacist. There’s a lot of different fields you can go into if you get your pharmacy degree — retail, sales, clinical pharmacy.
— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiekci